MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia will play its Gold-Blue intrasquad game Friday night and become the final Big East Conference team to conclude spring football drills.
Given the 24 days that will transpire between the start of spring practice and end - and everything that's happened everywhere else in between - the Mountaineers figure to have learned as much about their opponents as they have about themselves, right?
Perception, even in today's era of ever-available information, is not reality.
"Someone said to me, 'Did you see Alabama's spring game?'" WVU Coach Bill Stewart said. "I said, 'No. If I was going to watch one I'd watch Pitt's (on the NFL Network).' So they said, 'Did you watch Pitt's?' I said, 'No.'"
South Florida, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Connecticut played their spring games April 17. Rutgers and Cincinnati had theirs last Saturday. Ditto for Marshall and Maryland. UNLV's was April 17. Coastal Carolina's was April 10. LSU's was March 27.
WVU has seen nothing and will wait for film swaps to view its 2010 opponents.
Stewart and the Mountaineers have, in their defense, been a little preoccupied. There's the primary matter of the spring itself - grooming an offense with a quarterback who won't quarterback the offense in the fall, developing depth on the offensive line, gathering enough receivers to effectively spread the field, identifying a punter, realigning the starting linebackers and finding a third safety, to name a few issues.
And then over the past two weekends, with a wealth of the 2010 opponents playing spring games, the Mountaineers hosted rising senior recruits they'd like to have on campus for a more permanent basis next year.
"I chose to spend all that time with the parents and the youngsters who came in," Stewart said. "We just don't have a chance to spend much time following other stuff."
So, yes, WVU had its hands full, which is an interesting way to put things at the present ... because it's going to be that way in the future, too.
USF, Louisville, Cincinnati and Marshall have new coaches, though the Mountaineers are familiar with Bulls boss Skip Holtz from East Carolina and Defensive Coordinator Mark Snyder from Marshall, and are quite aware of the Herd's Doc Holliday, who left WVU last December. LSU, UNLV and Coastal Carolina are new opponents - and the Rebels have a new coach. WVU hasn't seen Maryland since 2007.
Even the familiar faces left out of that group aren't going to be exactly the same next season. Syracuse, Pitt, UConn and Rutgers could be a little to a lot different with altered personnel and perhaps philosophies, too.
Maybe then the spring would be a nice preview ... and maybe not.
"It's way early," Stewart said. "People like us who are experimenting now don't have everything in."
Still, there isn't much experimentation where new coaches are hurrying to install and get ahead. LSU has big aspirations and tried to settle a quarterback battle between Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. Pitt, UConn and Rutgers took aim at the Big East title and began their marches.